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How to Avoid and Treat Scalp Sunburn

Sunburn: Don't Let It Go to Your Head

We know you probably already wear a hat to protect you from the sun (right?), but just in case, check out these sunburn prevention tips from our friends at Allure:

Scalp burn. It's one of those things you never think will happen to you — until you can't blow-dry your hair without screaming in agony. Add in unsightly peeling, and you've got maybe the most distressing Summer beauty problem.

When a friend returned from vacation in Mexico this week, she called me the minute she landed for help. But, after scolding her for not wearing a hat, I didn't know what to tell her. It's one thing to soak your body in aloe, but your scalp? (And your $400 highlights?) I called hairdresser David Evangelista to find out what to do if this happens to you:

  1. Add Milk. Dip a washcloth into freezing-cold milk (2 percent is best) and gently press it against the scalp. "The enzymes in the milk bond to the skin and promote healing," Evangelista says. Sound familiar? This is the same treatment many dermatologists give to patients with chemical burns.
  2. Scrub Away. Chances are your scalp is peeling. But don't reach for a dandruff shampoo; the chemicals in it could irritate your scalp further. Instead, use a clarifying or exfoliating shampoo, like David Evangelista Scrub Gentle Exfoliating Shampoo. This will get rid of flakes and balance the scalp.
  3. Avoid Heat. It sounds obvious, but seriously step away from the heat tools. "If you have to, blow-dry your ends," Evangelista says. Applying additional heat to the area could result in significant, and even permanent, damage. "Sheets of skin could actually come off the scalp," Evangelista says.
  4. Cover and Prevent. To avoid further burning, and to disguise flakes, pull your hair straight back or switch your part. And next time you head out, apply a sunscreen to your scalp. Evangelista likes Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunblock Spray, which is easy to apply and won't make your hair look greasy or chalky.

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Source: Flickr User AMELIA SPEED formerly foxandfeathers

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Join The Conversation
snuzzled snuzzled 2 years
@Vanonymous, I know your post is old, but, you can buy zinc oxide powder and mix it into your hair gel or mousse. It's what I do. :) If you get the microparticle zinc, it won't even leave a white residue. Just a tiny pinch is enough and a bag should last you forever if you only mix what you need as you use it, and only apply it to your part.
Vanonymous Vanonymous 3 years
Aside from wearing a hat, is there any way to avoid scalp burn?  Anyone know of any spray/non-greasy sunblock?  I usually try to avoid having a part by just pulling it back into a ponytail, but I apparently failed over memorial day weekend!
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